Monday, December 7, 2009

The Case of the Missing Ad

From Tim:

Call me a daredevil, but I always ride in the first car of trains. They're definitely less crowded, and I'd rather walk a bit further than feel like a sardine.

Besides, does putting the least safe, most likely to telescope, cars in the middle, where most people are, make any sense at all?

Anyway, this morning, as the train was pulling up at East Falls Church, I got a quick glimpse of a Charles Schwab advertisement facing me from in the operator's cabin of car 6006 as it was pulling up.

It was being used as a "privacy screen," probably to keep people from taking pictures of the operators. Considering they operators' cabin is already tinted, I'm not sure why they do this.

I didn't think much of it at the time, but a little while later, I realized I was in a car obviously sponsored by Charles Schwab. There were ads everywhere, and sure enough, one of the little square ads, the one closest to the operator's booth, was missing.

I'm sure advertisers don't appreciate this, and that can't be good for the bottom line.

Other items:
FFX Co. looks to buses. (WaPo)
5, no 3 percent of your fares will never be used (Examiner)


Anonymous said...

Anyone else experience Metro red line trains terminating at Friendship Heights rather than Medical Center this past weekend?

Metro station signs, train signs and press releases all said Medical Center.

Typical Metrofail...

bradlby said...

I was on a car recently where all the ad spaces were blank. That same morning I was on another car where all the ads were for the Washington Freedom's season or some local film festival, both of which had been over for at least 3 months. Good use of ad space.

Anonymous said...

If there is nothing to hide as all employees are doing their best, then why are the operators trying to hide? Actions speak louder than words.

Dan Franzen said...

For the spaces where ads should be but aren't and haven't been moved (as in the ad now acting as a screen for the operator), maybe Metro just hasn't been able to sell all the ad space. Times are tough now, so it's possible companies aren't advertising as much. (Still, these cars are prime ad real estate..)

Anonymous said...

@Dan Franzen - If Metro is unable to sell those spaces, they need to fire their salespeople, and hire some closers.

Clive Dangerously said...

How much would it cost for me to plaster a car (just one) with my smiling face?

Mainland said...

Metro doesn't sell advertising directly, it's contracted out. The onus is on the third party, I believe it's CBS, to fill ad space. Given the economic situation, I'd bet a lack of ads (or well aged ads) are more likely due to low demand by advertisers.

Brian said...

That only makes sense though. I wouldn't advertise products on Metro, that's a horrible idea.

"Now that you're crammed in here like sardines, listening to excuses about why the train isn't moving, smelling someone elses beer farts and getting newspapers shoved in your face, and knowing you're going to be at least half an hour late to work now... Do the Dew!"

I wouldn't want MY products to be associated with that kind of misery.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the makers of Tylenol, Excedrin, Aleve and Advil should check out this potentially lucrative opportunity.

Anonymous said...

before the economy tanked, before there were hints that the economy was going to tank there were empty ad spaces on metro or ads for things that were long since over. This is not new.

Using an ad to screen yourself from the public is pretty reprhensible. Makes me think that conductor was breaking some rules.

Sarah Stone said...

I think I might have been in the exact same train this morning on my ride from Franconia-Springfield to King Street. I too always ride in the front car because it puts me out closest to the staircase exit to Commonwealth Ave. This morning I noticed the same thing happening on the blue line train; an ad ripped off it's appropriate spot and used to shield the vision into the driver's box. I took a picture of it this morning. The ad was ripped from it's place and then placed in the tinted window to block any sight into the driver's cab. If I were Charles Schwab, I'd be pissed that they are taking down the advertising they paid for. I work in the advertising business, and I know how much these sorts of things cost. Technically Charles Schwab should receive makegoods for all of the advertisement that has been removed. If Metro values their advertisers, hopefully they'll do something about this.

Kara said...

So does this mean we can finally go back to having some of those system maps that they took out for the oh-so-important ad space that is often not used?

Anonymous said...

What people fail to understand about Metro advertising is that WMATA does not sell its own ad space. An advertising agency (I believe Clear Channel) pays Metro a lump sum to place ads in trains and buses. This type of deal makes sense for Metro: WMATA can better forecast operating revenues, doesn't need to hire full-time sales staff, and (by Metro's own admission) earned more revenue than they estimated to could make if they sold the ads in-house. It's for this reason why Metro wasn't really concerned about missing or out-of-date ads: WMATA was still making the same amount.

Unfortunately, however, this lump sum deal is set to expire because the current advertising company does not wish to renew citing declining ad revenues. Metro forecasts that that it will not be able to make anywhere near the lump sum revenue generated by the advertising contract. This will cause yet another budget problem for WMATA... just what we need.

InfamousOreob said...

Can we stop with all the assumptions about the driver? Maybe the driver prior to him/her did it? Maybe they're having a bad hair day. Where did benefit of the doubt go? Sheesh people :(

Tim said...


I wrote this.

I never said it was THAT operator. THe whole point anyway was that it was AN operator. If it wasn't this particular operator, he didn't show any initiative to put the ad back where it belonged.

I'm pretty sure a rider didn't take the ad down, sneak into the operator's booth and tape it up.

bradlby said...

I saw another ad space yesterday occupied by the April / May / June Nationals home game schedule. Catch the fever! Oh wait, that's just H1N1, nevermind.

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